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Harmony (Part I)


Level:        Advanced-Beginner through Intermediate


Purpose:   To introduce chordal harmony


Set-up:     (1) Play the melody to Chorus from Judas Maccabaeus for the class

                  (2) Play Suzuki’s three-part arrangement of Chorus, found in Duets for Two Violins

(Summy Birchard)









       (3) Today we will learn about harmony.

Harmony is a different part that sounds good when played along with a melody.

The word harmony comes from the Greek word ‘harmonia’ meaning agreement.

In the example we just listened to, there were two additional parts played along with the melody.


Harmony adds texture and interest to a piece of music.

Adding a harmony part to a melody is like:

- Adding chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and a cherry to a bowl of ice cream

- Coloring in the outlines supplied in a coloring book

- Putting on 3-D glasses at a movie

Adding cinnamon and cloves to applesauce that you are heating up on the stove


A melody is built from the notes of a scale.

A simple harmony can be made from the notes of that scale that sound good or ‘agree’ with the melody notes.




Experience Harmony

1 - D Scale

Divide the class into 3 groups

Have Group 1 play a D scale

Add Group 2 - have them start on F# and play up the octave, remaining in D

Add Group 3 – have them start on A and play up the octave, remaining in D


2 - Oh Come, Little Children

Review the melody

Teach the bass line to the class and then have them play it while you play the melody

Divide the class into two groups; one will play melody and the other the bass line, while you add the middle part

Enjoy the beautiful three-part harmony!

3 – Harmony only

Play the accompaniments to familiar pieces from the Suzuki repertoire on either piano or violin and see if the class can identify them.


4 - Wrap Up

Play a recording of something wonderfully harmonized. For example:


Alleluia by Randall Thompson           - or-           As Vesta was from Latmos Hill Descending

5 – For more work with harmony I recommend Kerstin Wartberg’s "My Trio Book (Suzuki Volumes 1-2 Arranged for Three Violins)"


The "Violin Two" book contains a middle harmony -


The "Violin Three" book contains a bass line harmony -


There is also a score -


To play music in the classroom (from a phone, tablet or laptop)

I've had great luck with the extremely portable iHM79 speakers

from iHome. Plenty of sound and very easy to set up.

© 2018 CAM Publications

"I've never known a musician who regretted being one. Whatever deceptions life may have in store for you, music itself is not going to let you down."  - Virgil Thomson

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